Your writing chops could be your ticket to small business success.
Janice Sage, innkeeper at Maine’s Center Lovell Inn and Restaurant, is retiring after 22 years. She’s giving the inn away, and she’s choosing the winner through an essay contest.
Sage actually earned her own rights to the inn by writing an essay, and she had never been to Maine before she won the inn in 1993. While Sage could sell the business, she has said she would rather give it away to someone with passion and business know-how.
How to win the inn
Dream of being the next innkeeper? Sage told the Boston Globe that she’ll be looking for “grammatically correct entries that show a passion for work.”
The prompt for your 200-word essay: “Why I would like to own and operate a Country Inn.”
Sage will keep the application money and narrow down the applicant pool to 20. Then, a judging duo with no stake in the business will choose the winner. The new owner will also receive $20,000 to put toward the business.
Applications are due by June 6, 2015. You’ll need to include the $125 application fee, and deliver your essay by snail mail.
If fewer than 7,500 entries are received, entrants will have their application fees refunded. The search will still move forward, but if a winner is chosen, they won’t receive the $20,000 award.
Don’t plan to make this your vacation home
The Boston Globe story illustrated the difficulty of running a bustling B&B: Center Lovell Inn has seven guest rooms, 10 staffers and 120 dinner guests on a good night. The innkeeper tends to be on duty 17 hours per day. “Unless you raise[d] 14 kids, you’re not going to be used to this,” Sage told the Globe.
Want to own the inn, but still want time to write? The contest mandates that the winner keep the inn and restaurant open for at least one year after taking over. After that, the facility is yours for the rebranding.
But with a real estate value of about $900,000, the taxes, legal fees and upkeep of the property could be too much to maintain without running some kind of business.
Still interested in becoming the innkeeper?
Yes, your writing skills could help you win this picturesque inn. But if it’s going to be worth the investment for you, you’ll need to love business as well. When you’re tending to guests around the clock, you won’t have much time to escape into a nook or cranny with your notebook.
Our advice: Apply, win the inn and invite TWL readers to a yearly writing retreat on the property. We’ll see you in Maine!
Are you going to enter the essay contest to win the inn?